a blog by Maureen Cohen

exoplanet scientist @ Uni of Edinburgh

  • High haze over Titan seen during fly-by

    Earth the exoplanet

    March 10, 2021 by

    Compared to exoplanets, we know a lot about the Earth. It’s our home planet and the one that shapes our expectations when we study other worlds. Planetary science evolved out of Earth science. Exoplanet models started out as Earth climate models. Yet research on Earth throughout its history shows that the climate has been very… Read more

  • A cross section of clouds on Proxima Centauri b

    Water cloud, acid cloud, iron cloud

    February 10, 2021 by

    A little while ago my kitchen sink had a serious clog. The emergency plumber worked on it for two hours. After failing to clear it with the manual plumbing snake and the much larger, electric plumbing snake, he finally tossed in the towel and poured a bottle of 80% sulphuric acid (chemical formula H2SO4) down… Read more

  • The MUL.APIN, an ancient Babylonian star catalogue. 1000-500 BCE. Now in the British Museum.

    How the Heavens Moved in Ancient Babylon and Greece

    January 20, 2021 by

    I work with climate models in my research. That means I tell a computer to perform some calculations for me. The computer calculates a set of equations in physics that describe how the gas making up the atmosphere of a planet flows and the values of its physical properties, like pressure, density, and temperature, at… Read more

  • Artist's impression of the James Webb Space Telescope. Courtesy of NASA.

    How do we know what’s in an exoplanet’s atmosphere?

    January 13, 2021 by

    A planet’s atmosphere contains different chemical elements. The Earth’s atmosphere, for example, consists of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, and just 0.01% other gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone. Earth’s atmosphere also contains varying amounts of water vapour in different regions and at different heights. That catch-all “other” category may be small,… Read more

  • Planet Profile: Proxima Centauri b

    January 6, 2021 by

    The closest star to our Sun is called Proxima Centauri. It was discovered over 100 years ago by the Scottish astronomer Robert Innes and is estimated to be only 4.25 lightyears away. Getting a feel for the kinds of distances we’re talking about in astronomy is difficult, so let’s use a mental yardstick to help.… Read more

  • Blog announcement: Change of focus

    January 5, 2021 by

    In September 2020, I started a PhD program in exoplanet science. I am studying possible climates of Earth-like planets in other solar systems. Although I’m still offering translation services, the focus of my website and blog will shift to science writing. I will be blogging about my research, but also about recent developments in exoplanet… Read more

  • A perfect profession for life-long learners

    April 15, 2020 by

    Translation and learning go together like peanut butter and jelly. Every text we translate has a subject matter–often specialised, obscure, or technical. To translate a document accurately, we must not only know rare words, but also understand the subject matter. This is why regular continuing professional development (CPD) and, if possible, specialising in a particular… Read more

  • Should I hire a freelancer or a translation agency?

    February 24, 2020 by

    It’s difficult to choose a language service provider or freelancer when you don’t know much about the translation process. Having worked both directly with clients and through agencies as intermediaries, I can offer some insight into what type of provider might be best for your project. It’s better to work with a freelancer if: –… Read more

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